After you have entered by the way, what comes next? Nephi clearly explains the next step as receiving the Holy Ghost and that through the Holy Ghost you will be led to Christ, and that He [Christ] shall manifest himself unto you, and Christ will lead you to the Father, and no man comes unto the Father but by Him (John 14:6, Luke 10:22). Nephi laments because he perceives that you still do not comprehend his message or what he is trying to convey after you have entered in by the way.
Interesting to note that in 2 Nephi 31:20, towards the end of the verse, the promise of eternal life came from the Father, it is the Father who declared that Nephi shall have eternal life. Does it make sense now, why Christ would lead you to the Father? And further why you should seek Christ.
Stepping back for a moment before going forward and discussing the way (2 Nephi 32), we ought to consider the first and second books of Nephi, he lays out his life to us, there are a lot of details and elements there that are sometimes glossed over because at first they don’t appear to be much. The accounts in the books of Nephi are not just an historical account, but more importantly they are given to teach us through his life’s experiences how he came to be in the presence of the Father and Son.
His journey starts with his father Lehi and family living in Jerusalem. Nephi begins his spiritual journey as we all begin, with a (1) desire to know, to know if these things are true, he turns to the Lord in prayer and receives an answer, the Lord speaks to him in a still small voice, because of his desire to know and receiving an answer he (2) believes, he acts on this belief and desires to share the joy of it with others, by acting on this he demonstrates (3) faith, faith is an act or action, faith is demonstrated by our actions, he shares this with his brothers and (4) humbles himself when persecuted by them – he prays for his brethren who despise and reject him, he acts as an emissary between them and the Lord, pleading their case to the Lord on their behalf for the salvation of their souls, though rejected and despised by his brothers, Nephi, returns their hate for him with mercy and he receives mercy from the Lord. Nephi continues to (5) obey the voice of the Lord, he listens, ponders, prays and acts upon those things, his faith is challenged many times from one small degree to the next, from one small degree to a large degree. He grows in (6) knowledge and grace – he knows personally through his experiences the mercies and goodness of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ – he is becoming more and more acquainted with their characters and divine nature. He remains faithful and obedient to the Lord, despite the opposition, a refiners fire if you will, until he is sufficiently prepared, having been proven, tried, and tested his (7) knowledge can now become perfect in the Father and the Son, the Lord has led him from grace to grace until he hears the words of the Father to him, that he “shall have eternal life”, and this is the way, he has been redeemed from the fall, his knowledge of the Father and the Son are now perfected. Read through the first book of Nephi and see what you can discover.
Nephi expounds on his experiences with the Father and the Son in 2 Nephi 31, he quotes the words of both the Father and the Son that were spoken to him. He teaches us, you, the doctrine of Christ in plainness, and he unfolds the mystery of the way by which we should enter in and receive. He wants us to know the path to Christ is sure and sound, after all, he having been on the way from the beginning to end. He knows the outcome if we will but follow the Lord, though it will be rife with difficulties, we can maybe see our own path before us a little bit more clearly now. He wants for us to have hope and for us to have this same joy that he has received.
How many times have we (after the fact) realized the Spirit was whispering to us all along and we ignored it because we didn’t recognize it until later, or became afraid to obey and act on it. I have personally experienced all three of these, multiple times, throughout my life. You will struggle to move forward and receive more, this is natural, through this course we demonstrate our faith through our actions to God, he uses these experience to teach us, to prepare us for more, to refine us and prepare us to receive His Son and to be brought into His presence. Be grateful, and not hard on yourself when you realize it later what was being communicated to you by the spirit, because this recognition is still growth, you are learning to recognize the spirit and with time, patience and prayer, you will begin to recognize the spirit earlier on and the frequency of the spirit communicating to you will increase.
Now to continue.
2 Nephi 32
1 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts?
2 Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?
3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.
Nephi is unfolding several mysteries here, he is telling us that angels speak the words of Christ; they speak by the power of the Holy Ghost. What are the words of Christ? What do the words of Christ tell us to do, and where can we go to find the words of Christ?
Nephi additionally tells us that we too can speak with the tongue of angels; it is by the power of the Holy Ghost that we can speak with a new tongue, even as the angels – wherefore we can speak the words of Christ.
He also tells us that we need to feast upon the words of Christ, how do you feast upon a meal, what preparation is taken if any, when you feast are you not consuming everything, the sweet smell, noticing the flavor of every bite and the texture in our mouths. When feasting upon the words of Christ should we not savor every word, weighing the meaning, feeling the words flow into us until we are full.
4 Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.
There are several things to be taken from this verse in context with the previous verse. First, we have feasting, which could also be interpreted as seeking and in this verse we’re told that we do not ask nor do we knock.
How do we knock or how do we ask. We ask by coming to the Lord and praying unto the Father in his name, we knock by praying three times in the day, we pray in the morning, we pray midday, we pray in the evening – this is the literal act of praying. This is one way to knock, the other way to knock is to do, knocking itself is an action, it requires some form of physical movement to knock, and faith is demonstrated by actions.
What are you really being told here, we are being told that after we have entered in by the way and have received the Holy Ghost that we are to search the words of Christ and feast upon them that we may speak with the tongue of angels even by the power the Holy Ghost, what generally do angels do – Angels deliver messages, they are messengers. Then we ought to take the words of Christ to our soul feasting upon them and bring them to the world, to our neighbor, to our friends, and most importantly to our family and teach them His words and speak to these things, for his words are eternal, and by this action we are knocking, we are showing our faith and doing his will.
What does asking do, does it not open up a way for you to receive an answer? Then what does knocking do? Isn’t knocking an announcement of your presence and desire to enter. To make heaven aware by you doing the works of Christ?
5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, AND receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
6 Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.
7 And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be
8 And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.
9 But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.
All of this is worth pondering and going over in your mind and in your heart. If you have the desire to know, ask, search the words of Christ and feast upon them and pray unto the Father in His name. Enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost. It will show unto you all things that you must do. This is the way to Christ, and he will manifest himself to you in the flesh. And with Nephi’s admonition: whatsoever Christ tells you to do, do it.
This account and the record of Nephi in the Book of Mormon was written unto the Jew and the Gentile, more specifically to those who his words would come to. This is a record of the ancestors of the North American Indians; this record is from a people who are a remnant of Jacob, the broken branch as spoken of in the words of Isaiah.
Sons (daughters) of the Forest, these are the words of some of your ancestors, so that you might know the way, that you might come to a remembrance of the goodness of God, that Great Spirit which resides above, which is in everything and through everything.
Enter in by the way and receive, awaken, and remember who it is that you are.